Weekend explorations

Jul 17, 2012 | 0 comments

This weekend we were fortunate enough to have the use of a car, so 4 other women and I (3 coworkers and 1 of their friends) planned on camping out at Salmon Lake, a local campground about 40 miles north of Nome. 
Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated quickly by the time we left, and when we arrived at Salmon Lake, it was pouring rain and the air was thick with helicopter-sized mosquitoes. Nonetheless, we walked around a bit, threw a fishing line in, and explored for a while to see if the weather would turn.

We hoped to camp in the grassy field next to this old abandoned cabin. It was creepy enough for any horror movie, but not too creepy for me to climb inside and check it out.

The inside was quite dilapidated and pretty much as sketchy as you can get. Broken glass, strange odors, rusted cans, and insulation littered the floor, walls and ceiling.

 The second floor was even worse, so I didn’t spend much time up there for fear of the floor falling out.

Bird nest on top floor window
Well, long story short, we decided to cut our losses and enjoy a leisurely road trip back to Nome, to sleep in our warm, dry, mosquitoless beds. Even though I wouldn’t have minded camping, I was happy with the decision. 
Part of the large herd

So the next we slept in, had a big pancake breakfast, and then headed out on the Teller Highway, the third of Nome’s 3 roads out of town (all of which inevitably dead-end in a town or randomly in the tundra). Our first stop was to see a huge herd of muskox at the edge of town.

Along our way, we stopped at a few places that looked interesting, first a nice slope tundra where the clouds were finally breaking.

Possible wolf scat

Interesting tundra ground

Flock of redpolls (?)

We drove further, stopping at a few rivers to throw a line in. Saw lots of salmon (both pinks and reds), but none were biting, so we eventually headed back.

Our last stop before returning to the bunkhouse was a massive abandoned dredge on the edge of town by the mining area at West Beach. One of the women I was with had been inside of it before and wanted to show us.

I think these are sluice boxes

It brought back memories of exploring old mine shafts in South Dakota a few years ago, only this was much more brightly lit and obviously a well-used hangout for various folks. We found no one inside though, and had the whole vessel to ourselves to explore the depths of the strange chambers and rickety catwalks.

Inside the top level

Flash photo down a pitch-black hatch

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, although I don’t have time right now to describe it all in depth. If you want to know more, just ask, but otherwise, enjoy the pics.


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